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Well hello there! I hope you’re having a wonderful day. It’s always so much fun to chat with you about my favorite subject, needlepoint. And this week, I have a little treat for you. We’re gonna dive into a topic near and dear to my heart – silk ribbon embroidery. See that picture down there?

Silk ribbon embroidery on handkerchief linen


That’s the collar on one of Rebekah’s Easter dresses from way-back-when. It’s silk ribbon embroidery on handkerchief linen. (Swwooooon… I had so much fun stitching that design.)

Did you know that you can use silk ribbon embroidery techniques in needlepoint?

Kelly Clark introduced me to the idea at my very first market way back in 2oo3. She has some really fun basket canvases that incorporate silk ribbon. Here’s one of my favorites – “Provence Picnic Basket”.

Provence Picnic Basket by Kelly Clark Needlepoint

See those lovely silk ribbon sunflowers? Those are lazy daisy stitches and loop stitches. Pretty nifty, huh? And the grapes… some of those stitches those are silk ribbon French knots.

Here’s another needlepoint canvas featuring silk ribbon techniques…

"Flower Fish" by John Johannsen for Melissa Shirley Designs

Jean Krynicki, the owner of River Silks, is the stitcher responsible for creating this masterpiece. Isn’t it terrific? Those big flowers in the center of the fish are spider web roses. They’re reeaaalllly fun (and easy!) to make. This month’s bundle for The Stitcher’s Club is “Flowers” and making those spider web roses is just one of the new “how-to” stitch videos I’ll be posting in the video library next week for members.

Using silk ribbons and ribbon embroidery techniques on your needlepoint canvases is a lot easier than you might think.

You’ll likely find silk ribbon in most local needlework shops. It comes in a variety of widths, but 2mm, 4mm, and 7 mm are the most common. They’re also the easiest to use to embellish needlepoint canvases.

My all-time favorite ribbons are from River Silks. The colors are luscious and the ribbons hold up very well to stitching through mono-canvas.

What makes River Silks ribbon so durable? For starters, it’s not cut from cloth like many of the silk ribbons available in today’s marketplace. Instead, it’s woven. And because it’s woven, it has a selvage on both sides. That means the edges don’t fray. Oh – and it has a very high thread count, too. The ribbon has oodles of body (thanks to that high thread count), so your flowers won’t be droopy.

"Petunias" color collection from River Silks

I like to use chenille needles for silk ribbon embroidery. They’re very much like tapestry needles, but they have a sharp point. (The point pierces the ribbon easily when you’re making those beautiful flowers.)

Here are a few more ribbon embroidery tips, too…

  • Using different widths of ribbons may alter the look of a stitch, so it’s a good idea to practice on a doodle canvas.
  • Your stitches should be longer than the width of the ribbon you’re using.
  • Use 10″ – 12 ” lengths of ribbon. The wider the ribbon, the shorter the length should be.
  • Use gentle tension when working with ribbon.
  • Use the thumb of your non-dominant stitching hand to hold the ribbon flat as you carefully pull it through to the back of your canvas. (This little trick keeps the ribbon from getting twisted. You may also use a laying tool, if you prefer.)

I hope you’ll join me for this week’s episode of Serendipi-TV on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. CDT. I’ll show you some examples of different kinds of silk ribbon flowers that you can add to your projects. And be sure you subscribe to Serendipi-TV over on YouTube, too. I don’t want you to miss anything.

Before you go, I’m curious. Have you ever used silk ribbon embroidery on your needlepoint projects? Tell me in the comments box below. I love hearing from you and I read every single note.

Until next time, happy stitching!

Stitch with a smile!




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  1. Anne Ball ard

    May 24, 2019 at 11:19 am

    Hi Ellen – I started to try it on a small piece. Need practice!!! Anne

    • Ellen Johnson

      May 26, 2019 at 11:49 am

      Hi Anne!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write. ???? I’m tickled to hear that you’ve given silk ribbon a try. Be patient with yourself. It just takes a little practice to get the tension down. Once you master that, you’ll be golden! Let me know if I can help in any way.


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